Naples Art Association Festivals Achieve National Rank

Crowd at Naples National 2012 image by Debi Pitman Wilkey

Crowds of art collectors flood the streets at the #9 ranked Naples National Art Festival in 2012. Image by Debi Pitman Wilkey

Four out of five Naples Art Association fine art festivals are ranked by Sunshine Artist Magazine’s 100 Best Fine Art and Design Shows of 2011. Rankings are derived from magazine subscriber artist ballots which ask artists to rank their top 10 festivals by sales. Nearly 1,000 art shows were submitted.

The association’s top ranking festival is the Naples National Art Festival. This festival was ranked #9 for 2011 and has earned a place on the top 10 list dating back to 2007. This annual festival serves as the association’s largest fundraiser. The 34th Annual Naples National Art Festival is scheduled for Feb. 23-24, 2013 in Cambier Park and along 8th Street in Naples.

Executive Director Aimee Schlehr notes that festival artists are both creative individuals and small business owners. She says this duality helps artists and arts organizations succeed. “Naples Art Association festivals offer the community a great way to discover new artists, but they are also fundraisers for us aligned with our vision of supporting individual artists of all levels to further their creative goals,” Schlehr said. Drawing crowds in the tens of thousands, NAA festivals are strongly supported by the community. They aim to put on events that exceed the expectations of fine art collectors and energize the attendees viewing art of all varieties.

By organizing successful festivals, the Naples Art Association raises money in a creative way: by offering individual artists another opportunity to further their business. “While many artists today have websites where people can view and buy their work, festivals provide these artists a storefront where customers can ask them about their work and see the detail up close,” said Marianne Megela, Festivals Director for the Naples Art Association. “This often makes the difference between someone admiring their work and making a purchase.”

The association’s two festivals held along 5th Avenue South in Naples, The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts, and the Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair, were ranked #21 (rising three ranks from 2010) and #63 respectively. These events are scheduled for Mar. 23-24, 2013 and Jan. 5-6, 2013 and will showcase approximately 250 national artists.

The Mercato Fine Arts Festival, which is the association’s newest art fair, earned a ranking of #73 (rising two ranks from 2010). The 5th Annual Mercato Fine Arts Festival is scheduled for Mar. 2-3, 2013 at the Mercato Lifestyle Center in North Naples.

Although the association’s smallest and first festival of the season did not make the Sunshine Artist Magazine top 100 list, the Naples Fall Fine Art and Craft Festival draws about 100 artists from around the country. Now in its 9th year, this festival is an excellent kick-off to the holiday shopping season. Nestled along 10th Street South in Naples near The Depot, this event is scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 23-24, 2012.

All five festivals serve as fundraisers that help support creative community programming of the Naples Art Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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